By Scott Tillery, Beacon Broadband Network Operations Center Technician
These days, people rely on their home Wi-Fi network for everyday life just as much as electricity and running water.
We run our lives by connecting multiple devices to our networks to conduct business, communicate with loved ones and watch the latest episodes of our favorite TV shows.
We now have higher connectivity expectations than before and less patience while waiting for files to download, jittery video, dropped or delayed phone calls, or internet Wi-Fi service disruptions.
When occasional issues do occur, simple troubleshooting steps—such as turning off your Wi-Fi router, waiting one minute and then turning it back on again—can solve the problem. However, constant trouble connecting or slow performance can be addressed by moving your router or updating it.
Beacon Broadband believes in providing existing and future customers with information that can enhance their home Wi-Fi experience. These tips will help you understand the Wi-Fi basics and improve your Wi-Fi experience.
Wi-Fi Basics In its simplest form, Wi-Fi is a radio signal transmitted through the air—like AM/ FM radio waves—that works over shorter distances, and transmits and receives in both directions.
In your home, Wi-Fi is becoming a necessity to provide an effortless way for devices to communicate with each other wirelessly with an internet service provider connection, such as Beacon Broadband’s ultra-fast fiber-to-the-home internet service.
2.4 GHz Versus 5 GHz
Most Wi-Fi routers today use both 2.4 gigahertz and 5 GHz bands, though specific devices may only work on one of them. Key differences between the two frequency bands are helpful to understand. These are similar to AM and FM in their differences. AM band travels farther but does not have the ability to support quality audio, so is best suited for talk radio. FM has the quality, but less distance.
While 5 GHz is faster, it has a shorter range, and older devices may not be compatible. While 2.4 GHz has a farther range, it is slower and more congested by your
neighbors’ Wi-Fi systems, wireless phones and other devices that use the same frequency range.
Today’s cellphones, tablets and PCs work best on 5 GHz, whether you are streaming or gaming. Wi-Fi doorbell and outdoor cameras, however, almost all require 2.4 GHz due to the extended range needed to reach the devices through exterior walls and farther distances.
Interference and Location
The placement of your router can affect your Wi-Fi experience. Your router needs to send a strong signal to your wireless devices throughout your home.
Like a radio, the better the signal, the clearer the station reception. In general, the signal gets weaker the farther you are from your Wi-Fi router.
If possible, place the Wi-Fi router on a shelf. The ideal position is halfway between the floor and the ceiling, preferably above furniture height.
The physical features of your house may contribute to Wi-Fi coverage issues. For example, all walls—especially walls made from concrete or brick, or with steel studs behind the drywall—can block some or all of your Wi-Fi signal. Metal surfaces can also interfere with or weaken your Wi-Fi signal.
Placing your router in a kitchen or laundry room—where there might be a lot of metal appliances—is not a good idea. Glass windows and doors also negatively affect signals.
One of the most obstructive materials for Wi-Fi is a mirror. If you have a sizable mirror near your Wi-Fi router, it may negatively impact Wi-Fi performance. Microwave ovens have a severe impact on 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi when turned on.
If you are experiencing Wi-Fi issues, try moving your Wi-Fi router to a different room or place it away from mirrors, metal and other obstructions. You can add a mesh device to improve the coverage to all areas in your home.
Beacon Broadband’s Ultimate Wi-Fi Experience
Beacon Broadband offers Calix GigaSpire BLAST u6.2’s—we call them GigaSpires— as a premium smart home system for optimal whole-home coverage at no extra charge.
GigaSpire routers provide simultaneous dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation and dynamic beamforming at 5 GHz.
Leveraging the latest Wi-Fi 6 features, the GigaSpire BLAST u6.2 transmits a more extended range and has higher efficiency and less interference than earlier generations of Wi-Fi technology. The GigaSpire efficiently delivers 4K streaming video to end-use devices, such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
The GigaSpire gives customers ultra-fast Wi-Fi throughout their homes.
If your home is large or expansive, Beacon Broadband also offers the latest generation of redundant mesh Wi-Fi via the Calix Mesh BLAST u4m, called mesh units. With the GigaSpire as the hub and the BLAST u4m as the satellite Wi-Fi extender, consumers can gain a wholehome and smart home experience.
With the addition of the CommandIQ phone app called Beacon Home, customers can take control of their GigaSpire, allowing them to manage their Wi-Fi, create guest Wi-Fi access, set parental controls and run speed tests.
The ProtectIQ app feature adds an extra layer of protection from malicious traffic. The ExperienceIQ feature allows you to manage screen time, content and internet access all in one place.